Just as the experts at The Fall Home Show (who sponsored this blog and our fall home trends gallery) predicted, the Urban Farmhouse look will be big this autumn. They expect effortless country style to spill over into home entertaining, too, so the spirit of impromptu summer picnics and casual get-togethers should remain, even as the weather cools.
“I think the absolute key is simplicity — people really understand now that entertaining should not be a competitive sport,” says Vicky Sanderson, home product specialist and columnist for The Toronto Star. (She'll be talking about beautiful style that doesn't break the bank at the Fall Home Show.) “It’s not about impressing your friends and family with elaborate food and décor. It’s about spending time with people, laughing, relaxing, listening to great music.” The seasonal harvest table above embodies rustic chic with a casual tablecloth, simple wooden chairs and elegant glass hurricane candle holders.
“These days, people are eating in more than they’re going out, and, as a consequence, having family and friends over is the big buzz in contemporary design,” say designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, best known for their HGTV show Colin and Justin’s Home Heist and weekly column in The Toronto Star. “Home users are spending their dollars on new kitchens and combining kitchen spaces with living rooms and dining zones to make one big casual sharing space.” (See Colin and Justin at The Fall Home Show on October 1 and 2.) This showhome great room from a few years back deftly illustrates their point — we're always ahead of the curve!
The menu has changed, too. Gone are the fussy, elabourate dishes in favour of locally produced food. “As a hostess, I want to focus on my guests,” says Vicky. “I don’t want to be in the kitchen slaving over a terrine de fois gras, where if I make one wrong step I’m basically left with a bowl of boiling fat, and nothing to serve my friends.” With the rise of the Slow Food movement and the 100-Mile Diet, a modern dinner party is about quality food with a local spin. Vicky’s idea of the perfect fall menu includes local cheese and spiced olives, cold poached salmon or trout, baby greens salad and artisanal bread, and, in warmer months, ends with seasonal fruits served with sour cream and brown sugar. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s delicious.
If simple just isn’t your style, cocktail parties are just as glam as ever. And better yet, you don’t have to wait for a reason to have one. “Parties are not just for special occasions or holidays anymore,” says Dee Brun Gow, aka The Cocktail Deeva. (Don't miss Dee, pictured above, at her seminars on creating personalised alcohol infusions for holiday parties at the Fall Home Show.) “People are having parties – or better yet, ‘events’ – for all kinds of reasons: movie premieres, television show premieres or finales. They are way more glam than ever, from hiring a photographer to capture the evening to rolling out the red carpet – literally.”
“As a society we are investing more in our homes, in design, decorating and making them fabulous,” says Dee. “We want to show them off and have people enjoy them with us.” Whether you choose to throw a country-style dinner party or roll out the bar cart for a cocktail party, entertaining at home is a smart, budget-friendly way to host friends and family for a meal this fall.
Get more great home decorating and entertaining ideas at The Fall Home Show! It's running from September 30 to October 3, 2010 at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. See our gallery of hot fall home trends from The Fall Home Show, plus get discounts on tickets!
1. House & Home October 2007 issue, photography by Ted Yarwood
2. House & Home March 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
3. House & Home July 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
4. Cherie-Lynn Buchanan